Missing their superstar goalie Henrik Lundqvist for the next two weeks due to injury, the New York Rangers’ quest toward a seventh consecutive playoff berth gets just a little bit harder.
They’ll have a chance to edge closer toward that on Sunday night, when they take on the fading Detroit Red Wings in their final visit to Joe Louis Arena (7:00, NBCSN).
The Rangers (43-23-2) will wrap up a four game road trip, one that primarily took place in the Southeast. The last segment didn’t go the way they wanted, falling 4-3 to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Rangers were able to end their long scoring drought on the power play, scoring three times. Chris Kreider got one in the first period, while Mika Zibanejad added two more in the second. However, Sebastian Aho scored two power play goals of his own in the third period, the first coming in controversial fashion as it appeared Antti Raanta was bumped by Elias Lindholm before the goal went in, but a review let the score stand.
Meanwhile, the Red Wings (26-29-11) are in grave danger of their 25-year playoff streak coming to an end. They did manage to end a four-game winless streak on Friday night, taking down the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Tomas Tatar had three points, via two goals and an assist, while Gustav Nyquist added three helpers.
This will be the third and final meeting between the Rangers and Red Wings this season, with the two teams splitting their set thus far, each winning on the other’s home ice. The Rangers won 1-0 in overtime in a hard fought game on January 22. Lundqvist and Jared Coreau shut out their opponents in all 60 minutes of regulation, but JT Miller finally broke through for the Rangers, scoring on the first shot of overtime just under two minutes in.
With the Red Wings moving into the newly built Little Caesar’s Arena next season, this will be the Rangers’ final visit to Joe Louis Arena. They’ll be glad to see it demolished, as they’ve gone 8-22-4-3 all-time in the building.
The Rangers are expected to get some scoring relief back in the lineup tonight, as Rick Nash is projected to return to the lineup after missing Thursday’s game, while Michael Grabner is slated to play his first game since February 28.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490